07/23/2010, 00.00
INDONESIA

Indonesian police tears down house church

After years of peaceful coexistence with residents, Muslim organisation gets the authorities to tear down the building. Ten people are arrested. The Pentecostal Church announces legal action against local authorities.
Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Police demolished a residential building in Bogor (West Java) that regularly hosted a house church. Police also detained, interrogated and released ten people, Compass Direct News (CDN) reported.

Last Monday, police raided a house used for worship by Narogong Pentecostal Church in the village of Limusnunggal, Cileungsi sub-district. The action was followed by clashes between agents and worshippers. The building was eventually torn down and ten people arrested.

“Local residents, including non-Christians, had accepted the presence of the church,” said local Block Captain Junaedi Syamsudin, “but a group called the Forum of the Muslim Brotherhood of Limusnunggal has worked since 2008 to have the church eliminated.”

“Three months ago members of the forum went to Cileungsi offices to object to the church's presence,” Syamsudin added, “and the regent promised to demolish the house.”

Bogor Police Chief Eddy Hidayat said that the house “lacked a use permit”, but Pentecostal Church coordinator Hotlan P. Silaen retorted that police were not neutral in the dispute.

"The clash with citizens could have been avoided if the police had been neutral and not been goaded into a situation that caused bodily harm," Silaen said.

Rev Rekson Sitorus announced that the Church would take "legal action" against those responsible for demolishing the house, including the Bogor administration.

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